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About Manali

A mountainous cold desert freckled with green patches over a dry weather-beaten face, fascinating valleys, windswept landscapes and quiet villages, Spiti, which loosely translates as ‘the middle land’. The geographic placement passes a heavy influence of Buddhism and stark cultural similarities of the region into the valley.
Religion plays a major role in everyday life, testified by the piles of ‘mani’ stones, whitewashed chortens that house Buddhist relics, and prayer flags fluttering relentlessly in thin air. Echoes of ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ (literally, ‘Behold the Jewel in the Lotus’) by all bring good fortune and prosperity to the distant land. Novelist Rudyard Kipling in his book ‘Kim’ describes Spiti as ‘a world within a world,’ ‘a place where the gods live’ – something that holds true to the present day.

For centuries, Spiti has had an introversive culture where life remained focused around its monasteries. It was loosely ruled by hereditary wazir, a self-styled ‘Nono’, and in between for brief periods, the valley was also attacked by invaders from neighbouring kingdoms. Spiti faced attacks from the warring princely states of Kullu and Ladakh in a bid to control the area. An army from Jammu and Kashmir led by generals Ghulam Khan and Rahim Khan invaded Spiti in 1841 AD. A few years later in 1846, a Sikh army too raided the valley. Finally, East India Company took control of Spiti in 1846 after cessation of cis-Sutlej States on conclusion of the first Anglo-Sikh War. On the ground, nothing changed and the Nono of Kyuling continued to rule as the hereditary Wizier of Spiti.

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